This is an article in the “City Idols” series. City Idols is an effort to revive the legacies of the people after whom roads and parks have been named.
Road Name: Vittal Mallya Road named after Vittal Mallya (20th December 1955 – December, 1983)
Born on 20th December 1955 in Dhaka to Devi and Bantwal Ganapati Mallya, Vittal Mallya was a successful Bangalore based businessman. He was the youngest of the three. Vittal Mallya studied in the Doon School in Dehradun and later at the Presidency College in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Even though Vittal Mallya could have easily got a job in the corporate sector he decided to become an entrepreneur. He made a few attempts in starting his own business but he was eventually drawn to the liquor industry after he came across a balance sheet of a liquor company.
Adept analysing the balance sheet, Vittal Mallya saw an immense potential for good returns in the industry provided one could run the business in a professional manner. He also realized that he could use the profits generated from this company to diversify into other industries and build lasting assets. Vittal’s ambition to build a huge business conglomerate with diversified interests. In fact the assets he created during this time helped his son raise resources to his manifold business. The company that immediately caught his attention was United Breweries Ltd. Which was founded in 1915 and was run by the British. In the earlier avatar, it used to sell bulk beer to British troops in the nineteenth century. Before long, Mallya started acquiring the shares of the company United Breweries and became a major stake in the company. If things had remained the same he would have got good dividends from the company year after year but a stroke of good fortune completely changed his life.
In 1947, when India got Independence, most Britishers who had business interests in the country, started abandoning their companies to return to their homeland. In the case of United Breweries, impressed by Mallya’s intelligence, the management handed over the reins of the company to him. So at the age of 22, Vittal Mallya became the head of a large company. And so began his tryst with the liquor industry. For years after taking over United Breweries, Vittal Mallya made his first acquisition, McDowell and Company Ltd, a company based in Chennai.
At that time McDowell was foreign importer of liquor, tea etc. In 1959, Vittal Mallya set up the company’s first distillery in Kerala as a part of backward integration plan. He also struck a deal with the owners of some foreign brands to start producing them locally with value addition coming in form of foreign concentrates. Mallya’s genius was at play again when he decided to market these Indian substitutes foreign liquor as ‘Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor’ (IMFL), a term continued to be used by domestic liquor manufacturers. Vittal Mallya hit pay dirt when a new government took over the reins of the country after winning the general elections in 1977 by defeating Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party.
Some information about his personal life:
Vittal Mallya had married to Ritu Mallya after being divorced with Lalitha, Vijay Mallya’s mother
In the month of December, 1983 in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai Vittal Mallya suffered a massive heart attack. The doctors who were summoned to attend Vittal Mallya pronounced him dead
There is a famous hospital named after him in Bangalore (Vittal Mallya Hospital)